The story of twins, Poppy and Flip, follows the axiom that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. They make a wish to go to the beach for the summer. Father says he can't afford to take them. So they surreptitiously write to Aunt Alice, arranging to swap their city house for her cottage for the summer. Aunt Alice agrees. While the children await her reply readers meet the neighbors, a group of characters whose dullness is not alleviated by the author's whimsical treatment.